In 1967, the Union Minière of Haut Katanga (UMHK - Miner Union of Upper Katanga) was nationalized and renamed as the “General Company of Congolese Minerals ( GECOMIN), which, three years later, became the “General Congolese Mining Company” (GECOMINE), and then in 1972 the “General Company of Quarries and Mines” (GECAMINES).
Through the taxes it paid to the Congolese state, it was the main source of income for the country, with up to 368 million dollars spent in taxes, duties and various charges in 1988.
In the 1990s, the mining sector in Katanga collapsed, resulting in delays to payment of wages by the Gecamines to its employees, including the loss of other advantages they had acquired such as contracts and agreements (and a delay of 56 months in the payment of a food allowance in the form of corn flour). The World Bank then provided finance under rigorous conditions, including a drastic reduction in staff levels encouraged by a policy of voluntary redundancy (the laying-off of 10,655 workers and managers of all categories, theoretically covered by Article 78 of the Congolese work Code and presidential decree No.035/2003 of 18/3/2003). 90% of the workers who satisfied the “sole condition of a minimum of 25 years’ service” accepted to leave the company with a “final payment” but in reality, were paid a sum of money which was only equivalent to only one-fifth of the money they were due.